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Culture Code Book Synopsis

On today’s edition of PT Reading Corner, we will analyze the Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. This book explores the notion behind creating great cultures within amazing teams. Coyle summarizes that a culture is essentially a set of living relationships working towards a shared goal. He also alludes that culture tends to be something that you do, rather than something that you are. Coyle took a look at many successful NBA teams, businesses and even the Navy SEALs to draw inspiration for this book.

Some of Coyle’s lessons about culture can apply to physiotherapy practice:

1. People must feel safe

In order to develop a strong culture, people must feel that they are connected to one another, have strong leadership and feel safe. If individuals have to compete for the highest status level, then they won’t feel as though they are respected and treated authentically. How do you create that sense of belonging? In a clinic, this starts by developing a strong mission statement to which all employees can relate. If you don’t have a clear and succinct mission statement, you cannot expect the team to be organized well. Furthermore, you have to live that mission every day through your actions. Just stating a mission is not enough.

On a more personal level, details such as body language and eye contact serve as important reminders of trust and respect by the leader of the team and all of the team's participants. The skill of a team is not the biggest determinant of team's success but rather the feeling of safety to express your thoughts and ideas.

2. Share vulnerability- explain how mutual risk drives cooperation

Successful groups rely strongly on clear communication, which involves individuals sharing when they are feeling vulnerable. This is not limited to junior team members, but everyone including leaders should be able to admit when they need help and guidance. When the whole team drives to complete a project, they are exposed to mutual risk of failing to hit the objectives of the project. It is this very risk that drives cooperation in individuals making up a team.

In physiotherapy practice, it is important to be able to talk openly about the events that transpired, the outcome and whether or not it was a success. There is nothing wrong with failing, but it is far worse if you don’t dissect the failure to find ways to learn and improve for next time. This could be a single patient interaction, the overall treatment plan or the system for accepting new patients.

Culture Code is a great book that has lessons which can be utilized in workplaces, group projects and even sports teams. It provides practical suggestions which can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios in order to develop the strongest culture and allow for better practice. We hope that you enjoy all the book has to offer.


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